The Global Robot End-Effector Market was valued at USD 3,264.2 million in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 6,451.8 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period (2021-2026). The COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown restriction imposed across the world have affected capital investments, industrial activities across the world. Following the global economic recession led by COVID-19, the market studied has witnessed mixed impact across 2020. Apart from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the political uncertainty around the Brexit and US elections is also attributed to a dip in robotics investments.
However, autonomous vehicles, aerial drones, and healthcare systems continued to find funding as of October 2020. Likewise, by late 2020, OnRobot AS received USD 27.4 million investment, a Growth Fund, toward developing the cobot grippers. And, In acquisitions, Piab Group bought TAWI Group for "smart lifting solutions" in the logistics and warehousing segment.
- The rapidly growing market for automation has increased the demand for the deployment of robotics systems across various end-user industries globally, which is driving the demand for robot end-effectors. Emerging markets are more slanted toward automation due to intense competition in the market and the need to improve product quality and the speed of production. This led to several robotic innovations, including end-effectors for various surfaces and different degrees of freedom, to handle routine tasks.
- End-effectors or otherwise mentioned as end of arm tooling (EOAT) are peripheral devices attached to a robot's wrist, allowing the robot to interact with its task. Majority of the EOATs are either mechanical or electromechanical. Being serving the pick and drop viagrippers, process tools, or sensors, they range from two-fingered grippers to incorporating complex sensor systems for advanced robotic inspection.
- The advancement in industrial and collaborative robot arms has been growing, with the end-effector evolution becoming rapid in the past few years. This is partially driven by the demand for dexterous manipulation in pick-and-place operations such as e-commerce order fulfillment. The end effectors of current times are becoming smarter and more potent as machine learning software and safety features are increasingly being combined within the EOAT itself, together with the ability to adapt to its environment using machine vision. For example, in specific applications, conveyors are being replaced with automated guided vehicles, transporting bins containing mixed products.
- This scenario leads to random bin picking operations, where vision-guided robots are equipped with suitable tooling to pick randomly oriented components from a bin and place them ready for the next step in the process. In these applications, the tooling must be capable of covering a wide range
Key Market Trends
Grippers to have Significant Market Share
- Food Industry is the among the largest end-user industry segment, to embrace grippers. Keeping food industry automation needs in strategic target to develop the solutions, Piab introduced piSOFTGRIP, a novel vacuum-based soft gripping tool in June 2019 which handles unpackaged, fresh, and delicate food items without crushing them.
- In March 2019, Schunk released its EGL-C long-stroke gripper through which it is aiming to achieve comprehensive human-robot collaboration. The gripper is designed to achieve high gripping forces while complying with global safety standards.
- 3D printed grippers are gaining popularity, especially in the packaging industry. For instance, Carecos Kosmetic GmbH faced an issue with its packaging process and solved it with 3D plastic grippers. The company initially used aluminum gripper that cost more than USD 11,500 per part and needed six weeks to execute a changeover. But with 3D printed plastic grippers, it was able to economically produce small batches.
- The safety of the robots and the surrounding environment is slowly coming into the forefront for the industries. Keeping such emerging trends in the product development strategies, University at Buffalo has developed a two-fingered dynamic gripper that could contribute to better grasping as well as improve safety for robots that work around people. The design of the robotic hand enables it to absorb energy from impacts during collisions.
- According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), growth in installed base of operational robots is forecasted to increase the market for grippers.
Asia Pacific to Witness the Highest Growth
- Rapid growth in modernization & industrialization across the region and most of the production industries shifting towards automation of their process methods to reduce the workforce drive the market's growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, there is increasing deployment of collaborative robots in the electronics, automotive, and other sectors to increase productivity.
- Industry 4.0, the newest industrial revolution, has boosted the development of new technologies, like collaborative robots; AI-enabled robots have enabled industries to use robots to increase efficiency, eliminate errors, and streamline many processes. Increased workplace safety and enhanced production capabilities have further encouraged industries to invest in robotic systems.
- The presence of countries with high investments and initiatives in the technological automation area has aided in adopting robots in the region. Japan can be regarded as one of the leaders in the employment of robotics and automation in the production processes with the highly developed robotic sector and automation technologies.
- According to the latest IFR report published in 2019, Japan stands second globally, with 55.2 thousand annual installation industrial robots after China, with 154 thousand yearly installations. The country is also the largest manufacturer of industrial robots catering to 52% of the global demand.
- The Chinese Government launched the "Made in China 2025" policy. This has arisen as a notable focus across the country's entire manufacturing community to remain the largest manufacturing sector.
The market is fragmented due to strong growth in industrial robotics in warehouses and semiconductor plants, which is benefitting the end-effector manufacturers.
- February 2021 - ABB Ltd launched cobots to add to the YuMi collaborative robot portfolio with GoFa and SWIFTI cobot families, which will offer higher payloads, greater speeds, and help accelerate the growth of the company's expansion in various industries like electronics, healthcare, consumer goods, logistics, and food and beverage for automating their factories.
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